Mixed fortunes: ODA and poverty in Burundi


Burundi is one of the poorest nations in the world. It has one of the smallest, least developed and most vulnerable economies in Africa. A decade of civil war grounded its institutions, discouraged investments and stifled economic growth. Political instability coupled with institutional inadequacies that emerged from the crisis ensured that the country missed out on resource allocation that could have facilitated a better economic growth trajectory, delivery of public goods and building of stronger accountable institutions.

Our report summarises the outcomes of three separate analyses on the interaction between ODA and poverty in Burundi, exploring questions such as:

  • What have official development assistance (ODA) and domestic resource improvements in post-war Burundi changed?
  • How has ODA impacted on domestic resource mobilisation?
  • How could ODA be best leveraged to reduce poverty?

All three analyses indicate that:

  • ODA flows to Burundi have been far outstripped by resource demands precipitated by extremely high levels of poverty
  • Longer-term poverty reduction requires a shift in ODA allocations to the country’s productive sectors
  • The prominence of ODA in government revenues could be impinging on domestic resource mobilisation.

This paper seeks to inform the macroeconomic policy regime in Burundi and advise development partners on how best to deliver ODA to the country in the future.